The war continues,with gains and losses on both sides. I occupied three population centres, Angora and Jerusalem, which were both neutral, and Smyrna, which had previously been annexed by Byzantium. All three involved battles. I lost a guard unit in Angora and another in Jerusalem, where I also lost four horse archers. Smyrna fell without loss to myself. The Byzantine landed his marines in Miletus. My raids on Tarsus and Iconium failed, with the loss of the raiders in each case.
My forces are scattered over a wide area, from Smyrna to Jerusalem. Edessa recruited a garrison of skirmishers, with a front guard unit.
The Byzantine left his large army standing in Tarsus, detatching three horse archers to protect Iconium. He concentrated his recruitment in Byzantium where there is now a moderate sized army. His small fleet remains in the Eastern Med, and his Black Sea fleet has returned to Byzantium.
The international situation is getting quite mirky. Hungary lost Transylvania to the Bavarian in what looks like a major battle. He also gave provinces in the Western Balkans to Venice to create a shield against further Bavarian aggression. On his Black Sea coast, he gave a Bessarabia to the Horde. The Hungarian took two provinces from the Byzantine in the North Balkans, and is one province away from Byzantium now. Sadly, the only population centre he presently controls is Serbia. The Horde Fleet in the Black Sea loaded a Hungarian force of light cavalry, but I accidentally gave permission for the Horde to land in Trebizond, so the Hungarians couldn’t be landed.
The Egyptian expanded West along the North African coast, and conquered Syria to the East of Jerusalem. His main force is in the Western part of his domain.
Hungary and Egypt granted me passage through their realms. Hungary and the Horde are working close together (with me as a third party). It appears that the Horde has also taken land from Lithuania. The Order is in deep trouble against Poland, who continues to take provinces from him. Thus, an increasing portion of the Eastern half of the map is a patchwork of ownership and conflict, with two blocks of nations seeking dominance. Venice and Egypt are tending towards assisting Hungary and myself, but still bide their time.
In the West, the situation is not so confused on the ground, although it is just as conflict ridden. France is a unified block, but appears to be facing off England and Arles. Castile continues to expand in Iberia. Aquitane falls to the English, and Aragon is being chewed up by its neighbors. Sicily builds castles and stays silent.
Thus, though still dire, the overall situation is increasingly pregnant with possibility. My original strategy of trying to suck others into my conflict with Byzantium is working. The trick is to now convert this momentum into a killing blow before the Byzantium receives reinforcements from his allies. The telling factor will be how Hungary and myself can coordinate our assaults to keep him off balance (as he could defeat either one of us without too much difficulty). To this end, we will rely upon our allies.
48 minutes ago